Understanding Mother's Guilt
As a parent it is very easy to feel like you are not doing enough, but if we don't know how to move from guilt to decisive action, it does no good for anyone.
I've been feeling guilty since I was a child. Guilty for who I am and how my presence affects others. And I tried hard not to be that way, but it never worked.
Thankfully my daughter has led me to some powerful tools and systems that have allowed me to understand who I am, why I am the way I am, my personal self-care needs, and how I can become a better person.
When I was a child my mom worked and I felt we were raised by nannies. I often thought "Why did my mom have me, if she didn't want to be with me?". She told me recently that she really didn't find it too interesting to be home with us kids. This is actually a very normal response for many highly educated women, according to the book You are your child's first teacher. But, because of my reaction to her choice (which I later discovered makes perfect sense for her Human Design needs and the childhood that I needed to fulfill my Astrology and Soul Contract and become the person that I am today), I vowed to raise my kids differently. And, as a result, I have to be very careful to keep a good balance between my needs and the needs of my kids, so that I don't burn out.
The best way I have found to do this is to really understand what each of our needs are, and what happens energetically when each of us are together.
It also helps to be able to see difficult moments as an opportunity to re-act, or to decide whether there is a more supportive and loving approach that we can try, either now, or later. But I can only do this if my basic needs are met.
To be a good parent, you need to make sure your basic needs are met first
Photo by Sage Friedman on Unsplash
Human Design and Astrology have been extremely supportive in allowing me to forgive myself for who I am and what my needs are, and they have given me clear self-care and life-navigation strategies that are specific to me. Soul Contract has also made it clear what I am here to do, and how I can turn negative experiences into something I am grateful for. Gene Keys, Soul Contract, and Human Design have also been critical in allowing me to see the light at the end of the tunnel when I am struggling with one of my kids, as I know who they are growing into, and what behaviours are completely normal for them to get to that point.
These systems also allow me to see the dynamic between any two individuals, so I can support them to understand what each person really needs from the other in order to feel secure.
Here are some examples of my self-care needs, that, if I could not see on paper, I might feel guilty about:
- My Human Design and Astrology confirm that I need a LOT of time by myself! I can not feel guilty about this! This is self-preservation. I feel everyone's questions, emotions, and pressures, and I need to be alone to find my center and process where I am at, so I don't burn out.
- My Human Design confirms that I don't have as much energy as most people. So I need to be OK that not everything gets done. I am doing the best I can, and the most important thing for me to do is to know my limits and take care of myself, so I don't burn out or get sick.
- My Human Design also confirms that I need to eat in a calm environment in order to efficiently take in my nutrients and be at my best, and I need to put my needs first or I will continue to envy others.
- My Soul Contract confirms that my kids will push my buttons, because they are here to teach me to share myself with others.
I find it a lot easier to drop Mother's Guilt when you can see your needs reflected back to you on paper.
We are each unique in our needs and the lessons we came here to experience. None of us are wrong, but we make ourselves feel wrong when we expect ourselves to be like somebody else.
Each parent-child pair is the perfect combination to work out each of our issues. Our kids have faith in us to support their growth, they chose us because we looked like the ideal candidate to give them the experiences they were looking for. And they are a gift to us, because they will always remind us of what we have forgotten and where we need to grow next.
Everything is as it should be. Instead of wallowing in Mother's Guilt, we can take it as a sign. If you're feeling guilty, stop and evaluate the situation:
- What are you doing that is making you feel guilty?
- Is it ok to continue to do what you are doing? (Are you addressing one of your own self-care needs? Are you really needed by someone else at this time?)
- If you feel you are falling short of your ideal: Is there a better way that you could be handling this situation? (given everything that you know about yourself, your kids, your role, and the techniques that you are aware of)
- Is this something you have the capacity to shift or correct now, later, or next time?
- Once you have taken the time to evaluate and decide: Drop the guilt. And if you can't drop the guilt, try centering yourself and evaluating again.
Staying in guilt does no one any favors. Guilt is only there to remind you that you have a choice. Guilt is also NOT a life sentence! Every day is an opportunity to do something better. What's done is done. We are all here to learn.
There are many ways to unravel why you feel the way you do and how you can move to acting in a way that is more aligned with who you are (or who you are trying to become). I am here if you have any questions.
Enjoy your kids!
Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash
Enjoy your kids: the hard times, the quiet times, the chaotic times, and the fun times. They are a gift, especially when you are open to allowing them to show you where you still need to heal and grow.
Here is another article I wrote on a similar topic that shows you the variety of parents out there, and that we are all PERFECT for our kids:
Love and Bless, Strong Family!
Family Dynamics and Life Purpose Specialist
MSc Psychology, Specializing in Stress and Health